Life Hack is a series of posts focused on finding little tips and tricks that will help you improve your life in ways that you didn’t think you could. The Life Hack for this week is how to photograph a car, so we approached Daniel Böswald of the hugely popular Instagram account – @snabshodphotography – to talk about cameras, where we’re going wrong and how to do it right.
Who better to ask how to photograph a car than a car photographer based in Ingolstadt, Germany where Audi builds their most popular models? Böswald’s latest work includes photographing the brand new 2018 Audi A8. Oh, and did we mention that his day job is an industrial mechanic for Audi in their Ingolstadt factory? Yeah. This guy knows his stuff.
For where it all began, Daniel says, “One day, my Dad bought himself a new digital camera. It wasn’t great, but I was curious about testing it. After a short time trying it indoors, I wanted more. So, I started taking it with me everywhere. I discovered my town and the nature around my home.”
“For about three years, I travelled as much as I could. I was a trainee, and didn’t have much money to travel a lot by train or plane. Years went by, and I successfully passed my apprenticeship as a mechatronic technician and I started to work at Audi as an industrial mechanic. One day, a colleague asked me if could do him a favour and if I would be interested in taking some photos of his old Audi RS6. I wasn’t sure if I could take this type of photograph. I’d never tried to take pictures of a car. But, why not? I would try my best, so I agreed and we set a date.”
“The day came, and we started our shooting. It was more difficult than I thought it would be, but it was so much fun! After finishing the photographs, I was proud of my work and everyone was satisfied. It was from this point that I decided it was what I wanted to do in the future. Combined with my experience in landscape photography, I decided to start my career as an automotive photographer.”
When we asked Daniel how to photograph a car, he said, “Car photography is a science in its own.”
He continued: “You have to think about, and consider, so many things. The surrounding, the light, the position of the car, the angle of the front wheels, lights on or lights off, the reflections in the paintwork, how to set the polarising filter, and so much more. But, there are some things that I consider to be the most important.”
“If you want to know how to photograph a car, the position of the car and the environment are both very important. Think about the composition of the final image before the car is placed. What story do you want to tell? What mood will you create? If you’re clear about that, think about if the car you shoot fits the location. A luxurious car fits perfectly in an urban location, modern architecture and luxurious buildings. On the other hand, a sports car obviously should be shot on a racetrack or a curvy road in the mountains.”
“If I had to choose only a few pieces to take good photographs, other than my cameras, they would be definitely my tripod, polarising filter, memory cards, my cleaning pen and a 35mm prime lens. I currently shoot with a Canon EOS 6D or a Sony Alpha A7II.”
Daniel is now pushing forward with his work to enter the cinematic world. He has created short movies, clips and professional works for clients, social media and YouTube. He says, “Besides taking photographs, it’s nice for my audience to look at some footage and the sound of sports cars as well as still pictures.”
So, there you have it, if you’re wondering how to photograph a car, you need to consider the environment you’re in, the equipment you use and things like the angle of the wheels or whether the lights are on or off!